The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) will investigate the conduct of Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays, following him “mistakenly” trying to identify a whistleblower.
Staley tried to identify the author of a letter that was received and treated by Barclays as a whistleblow in 2016.
The board was made aware of this earlier this year and immediately notified the regulators and instructed an external law firm, Simmons & Simmons, to investigate the matter.
In total, two anonymous letters were received by the bank in 2016 and treated as whistleblows. They were then investigated by Barclays’ compliance function.
Having been given a copy of the first letter and made aware of the second, Staley initially requested the group information security (GIS) team attempt to identify the authors of the letters.
Staley considered the letters were an unfair personal attack on a senior employee and was informed it wasn’t appropriate to identify the authors, so no further action was taken.
Staley later enquired if the whistleblowing issue had been cleared and tried to identify the author of the first letter himself.
He requested the GIS identify the author, following which GIS contacted and received assistance from a US law enforcement agency.
Staley was subsequently informed of this but no author was identified.
The investigation into the chief exec’s activity by Simmons & Simmons found that “Staley honestly, but mistakenly, believed that it was permissible to identify the author of the letter.”
Barclays said it will issue a reprimand to Staley and significantly adjust his bonus, following the outcome of the regulators’ investigation.
The board is also commissioning independent reviews of Barclays’ whistleblowing programme and will continue to review the position of other employees involved in this matter.
Staley said: "I have apologised to the Barclays board, and accepted its conclusion that my personal actions in this matter were errors on my part. I will also accept whatever sanction it deems appropriate.”
John McFarlane, chairman of Barclays, said the board has unanimous confidence in Staley and will support his re-appointment at Barclays Annual General Meeting on 10 May 2017.